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2022 Crossover Day Report

Middleton Public Affairs


This week the legislature convened Tuesday for Crossover Day (Legislative Day 28) and Wednesday through Friday for Legislative Days 29 through 31.   The Senate wrapped up their business on Crossover Day around 9:30 PM, and the House was done around 11:00 PM.   Any bills that did not successfully pass out of the chamber in which they originated are effectively dead this year and will need to be reintroduced next year.  However, in the final days of the legislative session, legislators sometimes attempt to get language from their dead bills attached to related measures that are still alive and moving through the legislative process.  Additionally, conference committees—made up of three House and three Senate members appointed to resolve differences between House and Senate positions on certain bills—are sometimes used to attach provisions from related legislation that would not otherwise pass.


While Crossover Day is unarguably one of the busiest days of the year under the Gold Dome, the days immediately following Legislative Day 28 are much slower as the House and Senate typically do not rush to take formal legislative action on bills that came from the other chamber.  Next week the legislature will convene Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday for Legislative Days 32 through 35.  Thursday will serve as a committee work day for members.  There are just a few weeks left in the 2022 legislative session— Day 40, Sine Die, is scheduled for April 4.


Gas Tax Suspension

Status: Passed House and Senate

Last week Governor Kemp announced plans to work with the legislature to temporarily suspend the state’s 29.1 cent per gallon excise tax on motor fuel sales due to the extreme and rapid increase in gas prices as a result of the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine.  The measure would take effect upon the governor’s signature of House Bill 304 and remain in effect through May 31, 2022.   The bill passed the House unanimously last week, and on Crossover Day, the Senate Finance Committee convened to pass it out of committee.  The Senate took it up on the floor on Thursday of this week, and it passed unanimously—the measure is now on its way to Governor Kemp’s desk for his signature.


Elections Bill

Status: Crossed Over

On Crossover Day the House passed House Bill 1464, an election reform bill sponsored by Representative James Burchett (R-Waycross), by a margin of 98 to 73 after a long period of debate.  The measure provides the Georgia Bureau of Investigation with original jurisdiction and subpoena power to investigate election fraud and election crimes and provides that employees must be given time off from work to vote on election day or during early voting.  The bill also requires drop boxes to be locked when early voting is not taking place and establishes specific chain of custody requirements for the handling and storage of election materials.   The bill has been assigned to the Senate Ethics Committee for consideration.




Horse Racing

Status: Did Not Cross Over

On Crossover Day the Senate was scheduled to consider two measures sponsored by Senate Rules Chairman Jeff Mullis (R-Chickamauga) that would allow gambling on horse racing in Georgia.  Senate Resolution 131 proposes an amendment to the Georgia Constitution which, if approved by two-third of the House and Senate and by a majority of Georgia voters, would authorize pari-mutuel and fixed odds betting on horse racing in Georgia.  The measure failed in the Senate by a vote of 33 to 20.  Chairman Mullis moved to reconsider the resolution, but it was not brought back up for a vote before the Senate adjourned that evening.  The enacting legislation, Senate Bill 212, which would create Georgia Horse Racing Commission, was tabled and did not receive a vote on Crossover Day.


Mental Health Parity

Status: Crossed Over

After passing the House by a vote of 169 to 3 last week, Speaker David Ralston’s (R-Blue Ridge) mental health parity bill, House Bill 1013, is beginning to make its way through the Senate.   This week Senate leaders and mental health advocates held a press conference at the Capitol to discuss the important impacts this legislation will have on Georgia families.  The bill will be carried in the Senate by Senator Brian Strickland (R-McDonough), who spoke at Wednesday’s press conference.  Senator Kay Kirkpatrick noted that there would be changes made to the bill on the Senate side, which would require the bill to go back to the House for further consideration.  The Senate has created a special subcommittee within the Health and Human Services Committee to do a deeper dive into mental health and House Bill 1013—the subcommittee is chaired by Senator Dean Burke (R-Bainbridge) and also includes Senator Ben Watson (R-Savannah), Senator John Kennedy (R-Macon), Senator Michelle Au (D-Johns Creek), and Senator Brian Strickland.


Legislator Pay Raise

Status: Crossed Over

On Crossover Day the House passed House Resolution 842 by Representative Wes Cantrell (R-Woodstock), which would establish a salary for sitting senators and representatives of 60 percent of the median household income in Georgia, which is determined biannually by the Georgia Department of Labor.  State House and Senate members currently earn about $17,000 plus a per diem.  The measure proposes an amendment to the constitution, which requires approval from two-third of each chamber and a majority of Georgia voters through a ballot question.  It passed the House by a vote of 136 to 33 and next heads to the Senate for consideration.


Longer Senate Terms

Status: Crossed Over

On Crossover Day, the Senate approved a measure that would extend the terms of state senators from two years to four years.  Senate Resolution 623, authored by outgoing Senator Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta), passed the Senate by a vote of 49 to 3—Senator Matt Brass (R-Newnan), Senator Greg Dolezal (R-Cumming), and Senator Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega) were the only ‘no’ votes on the measure.   In a committee hearing, Senator Tippins said he would leave it up to House members whether they should also be included in the term length extension.  Extending legislators’ term length would require an amendment to the Georgia Constitution, so it will still need two-thirds approval from the House and then approval of a majority of Georgia voters through a ballot question.


Healthcare Workforce Development Measures

Status: Crossed Over

Two measures that seek to address healthcare workforce issues were approved by the House by the Crossover Day deadline.  House Bill 1520 by Representative Lee Hawkins (R-Gainesville) would create the Georgia Council on Addressing Health Care Workforce Challenges, which would be made up of 27 members appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor, and Speaker.  The council would be tasked with providing strategic thought leadership and recommendations on the future of the health care workforce in Georgia.


House Bill 1371 by Representative Rick Jasperse (R-Jasper) would create the Rural Health Advancement Commission, a 13-member commission that would be tasked with developing private-sector solutions to address short-term and long-term health care and long-term care workforce shortages, with an emphasis on rural areas.  Both bills have been assigned to the Senate Government Oversight Committee for consideration.